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Travels With An Airhead

The 40th Annual Rally

— by Notch Miyake

The Finger Lakes BMW Club held its 40th Annual Labor Day Rally this year. It was a beautiful weekend except for rain on Sunday, which did little to deter the enthusiasm of the crowd. Counting club members who were there to work, there were about 800 attendees. After 40 years of doing the rally, things went smoothly.

Due to the advancing age of the attendees, the atmosphere was pretty mellow. We didn't have to chase down any streakers, break up any fistfights, or call the cops to quell any riots. While this certainly simplified things for Security, it raised a more serious problem: The average age of the attendees was 59 years. (It was actually higher since the results were skewed by the six-week-old infant that was included in the headcount.)

We all know it is the fault of BMW, who have priced their motorcycles out of reach of younger riders, who are struggling to pay for their smartphones while at the same time repaying their massive student loans. There is little hope that BMW will reduce their prices in line with the competition, so we need to do something else to lower the average age of the attendees.

Our options are pretty limited. We can tell the old guys not to come, but our attendance would drop by at least a half, accelerating the decline in attendance since the glory days of over 1,300 attendees. We already asked everyone to bring their grandchildren, but there were not enough of them to make any difference.

So what should we do? The only thing left is for everyone to lie about their age. (If they are not in serious contention for the oldest something award.) I'm not asking anyone to compromise their moral standards. After all, a lot of older women routinely lie about their age. And don't tell me you didn't lie about your age when you were under 21. This is the opposite situation, but nobody will check your ID. If everybody got a little creative on their registration form, we can get this problem under control.

As I noted earlier, it rained on Sunday. We saw the forecast on Saturday and immediately started to organize a naked rain dance. This dance is proven to stop any kind of rain, as long as enough people participate. We were almost set to go when we started to have some second thoughts. It's related to the problem I just discussed. Did we really want to see a bunch of 59 year-old naked bodies? Not! We decided to let nature take its course. It was the environmentally correct way to go.

This decision meant that it was raining when the bike show was supposed to be held. As you know, the kind of people that put their bikes in shows don't like to get them wet. This was great for the guys that had clunkers and had never won anything. But who wanted to stand in the rain looking at a bunch of wrecks? It was a real dilemma.

Finally, Bill, the bike show chairman, decided to do something. After a failed attempt at leading a chanting session to the rain gods, Bill took the drastic step of doing a solo naked rain dance. As you know, the way it works is by distracting the rain gods from their job of making rain. That's why young women work best. The chance of Bill's dance working was slim, but he was desperate. I don't know if the rain gods were laughing hysterically or were frightened out of their wits, but they stopped making rain long enough to have the show.

The last issue I want to raise is the sorry state of our vendors. Beside the T-shirt vendor and Marty detailing bikes, there was only one vendor in the vast area we had set aside. It was pretty lonely out there and he will probably not come next year. The high price of gas and the Internet has driven most of our old vendors out of business.

We need to find some way to attract more people into the vendor area. My first thought was to set up a tent and invite some dancers from the Klassy Kat to do their stuff. It would draw a lot of guys, but since we are inviting grandchildren . . . It's too bad, because if we did it, we would have some pros available in case we needed to do a naked rain dance.

Anyway, we need to find things that meet the needs of our 59 year-old attendees, like a massage parlor. Great relaxation for old muscles after the long ride to the Rally. And a maybe a tattoo artist to touch up some of those sagging tattoos. I'm sure we can find local vendors to handle these items.

Another idea might be to get a food truck featuring some of our unique upstate foods like Buffalo wings. Everybody knows that when Buffalo wings are available, people tend to drink a lot more beer. This is very good for the local economy as well as giving us a lot more money in returnable bottles and cans. A Buffalo wings truck is a win-win situation.

We could also get a food truck serving poutine, to help our Canadian friends feel more at home and to make up for us laughing at their accents. I know for a fact that there is a food truck in Rochester that serves poutine. I'm sure he would come to the rally because he doesn't sell much of the stuff to Americans.

It was another great rally, like all of the 39 rallies that preceded this one. And now that we have solutions to our major problems, the 41st promises to be even better.

— Copyright © 2014 by Notch Miyake.

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